He planted a small elderberry bush – The Regrets of Cyrus Dodd
Cyrus went into the kitchen and came back with a small glass of whiskey poured from the bottle he kept on the back shelf of the cupboard.
“Drink this,” he said. “It will dull the pain.”
He pushed the glass into her hands and guided it to her mouth.
He sat on the bed and held her in his arms as she continued to sob. In time the weariness of such heartache overcame her and she closed her eyes.
Once she was asleep, Cyrus swaddled the infant in a square of cloth and carried the bundle to the barn.
That afternoon he took the pine he’d cut for the baby’s cradle and fashioned it into a box for burial. In one board he’d already carved a small heart. That piece he placed facing in so the boy would know he was loved. As he worked, a stream of tears rolled down his face and disappeared into the thick of his beard.
When the box was ready, Cyrus spread a layer of soft hay across the bottom and placed the baby on top of it. He stood there for several moments stroking the infant with his roughened finger then he gently folded the cloth across the child’s face and nailed the coffin closed. On the outside of the box he wrote, Matthew Dodd, boy child of Ruth and Cyrus Dodd. Born dead, September 29, 1926.
Matthew was the name they had planned for the child.
It was two days before Ruth was strong enough to climb out of the bed. By then Cyrus had already buried the small box on the high ridge. To mark the spot he planted a small elderberry bush.